Our goal is to build a purely server-side Minecraft implementation of the 2007 version of the popular MMORPG RuneScape, right down to the simplistic build style and basic textures, developed in Spigot 1.8, with a prime focus on accuracy and attention to detail. The goal is that players simply connect to the IP address, allow the automatic resource pack download, and play. Obviously this means we cannot implement every single feature of Old School RuneScape, so we’re limited to the ones required by quests and for core gameplay. This project covers every aspect: the buildings, the landscape, the gameplay, the story and the experience. For more information about Old School RuneScape, click here.
Our method to creating this world is very different to how others make Minecraft maps. Rather than doing everything by hand and working off in-game references, we’ve put together a combination of tools to automate the important parts that most people may not even think about. For example – the landscape. Rather than terraforming by hand, we adapted a RuneScape map viewer, which used actual RuneScape map data, to instead render a heightmap. A heightmap is an image (usually greyscale) which is lighter in areas that are higher, and darker in areas that are lower. We then loaded it up into WorldPainter, which is capable of understanding heightmaps, and completely, in one go, generated the entire surface map. Now, obviously, height measurements in RuneScape are very different to that of Minecraft, but we were able to convert the measurements in a way that makes sense for a player. Mathematically, the worlds are near-identical.
We’ve used this same mentality for all other aspects of world-building. The building outlines line up perfectly with maps from October 2007 if you place them side-by-side, and caves store such height data too – except they are used differently in the game. Combined with other tools, these processes allow us to accurately and in great detail recreate the world of RuneScape – on a scale never seen before.
I, Matt, have been into Minecraft since around mid-alpha, and have administered Minecraft servers since early beta. I currently own and run the Worldwide Minecraft Alliance, an Australian server with Survival, Creative, SkyBlock and SkyGrid. In February 2014 I became a moderator on a RuneScape 2007 Minecraft server run by Avengah, and contributed huge amounts of my time building, creating textures, designing a subreddit and wiki, until ultimately resigning in August due to mismanagement and laziness of the owner (which crumbled to the ground soon after). I think recreating any level of an MMORPG like RuneScape is a fascinating idea, and being a moderator on that server for 7 months showed me how much interest the Minecraft community has in such a project, and just how fun it is to plan and execute such a huge project.
In the case of everyone else on the team.. for now, we haven’t really provided descriptions, however you can see the full Team listing here.
If you’ve seriously never heard of RuneScape, you are missing out. Go play it right now. If you want to play the version we’re recreating, just visit the Old School page. It has existed since 2001, has over 200 million accounts, and is still going strong. Not to mention their incredible soundtrack.
While such potential project-stoppers have crossed my mind, with a little bit of searching it’s clear that I’m not the only one working on a recreation of RuneScape in Minecraft, on any level. Jagex have even highlighted such community creations (because they’re awesome like that). I have no plans on replicating any textures, dialogue, or sounds verbatim, as those rightfully belong to Jagex, and in the case of functionality.. every RPG uses near-identical mechanics, it’s all about how you implement them and make them unique to your game. Easy enough to do here, and that’s our secondary goal – a unique experience. Something players will enjoy and remember, and that makes sense for Minecraft.